Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Garlic And Non-Landscaping

Sweetie and I planted both Elephant and regular garlic cloves last November. They were peeking from the ground in December and by the 8th of April, they looked like this!

Elephant Garlic

Regular Garlic

I am excited for July when we harvest these beautiful looking plants! I need to find a spot in the basement to hang the braids because we'll have so much more than we had last year.

I'm honestly a little curious about the brussel sprouts. You can see its progress as of April 8th in the background of the picture above. Just a short 17 days later, it has exploded! As you can see below, the plant obviously wintered well. I'd go so far as to say that the winter enhanced its appearance! I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing and I haven't done any research, so other than being a big and beautiful green, I don't know if this is promising for actual sprouts or if I should be trimming it or something. *shrug*

Brussel Sprouts. I stood my keys up in front as an attempt at some sort of size comparison.

That's the only progress I have to share that was even slightly intentionally started. Everything else in our yard that is blooming is a perennial and requires no effort on our part. This is season two of no mulching and the weeds are already thriving. I confused some dandelions for poppies the other day because their bright yellow heads were so much bigger than I had seen before. The purple deadnettle is making for some impressive ground cover.

Purple Deadnettle as of April 8th. It's already bigger and expanded further.
We don't have the prettiest yard in the neighborhood, but the birds and the bees are very happy for what we provide them! I haven't seen many honey bees but the bumblebees are prolific around the seas of purple. They apparently love the stuff. Far be it from me to take away their beloved food ;-)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

100 Push-Ups In 6 Weeks: Week 1

Week 1 of the "100 Push-ups in 6 weeks" program (using the free Android App because I'm cheap and it was out there).

Day 1
5 sets with a 60-second rest in between:
2 push-ups
3 push-ups
2 push-ups
2 push-ups
3 push-ups (or more to max out - my max was 5)

I did them at work when I was feeling restless so I didn't have a video camera with me to check form. They were hard to do though, so I think that's an indicator that my form was better ;-)

Day 2
5 sets with a 90-second rest in between:
3 push-ups
4 push-ups
3 push-ups
2 push-ups
4 push-ups (or more to max out - my max was 5)

I did them just before leaving for the night job and used the video camera to check form since I slacked and let 4 days pass between Day 1 & Day 2 instead of two or three days. Oops. After watching the video later that evening, I searched YouTube for other people who had posted videos of their push-ups at (preferably) the same level as I was at. A few of them used an object under their chest to ensure they went down far enough. That seemed like a great idea to keep me from going down too far! My shoulder was bothering me and after watching the 5th set in the video below, you'll notice my poor form included dipping too low (shoulders below elbows). That would explain the pain. Sweetie also pointed out that my neck wasn't in line with my back. I was probably looking at my hands, thinking they were directly below my head when they were actually below my chest.

Day 3 (with form notes in video below)
5 sets with a 120-second rest in between:
5 push-ups
6 push-ups
4 push-ups
3 push-ups
5 push-ups (or more to max out - my max was 8!)

I did some research on proper form and apparently, I'm supposed to look slightly forward to keep my head in line. Basically, if I dropped all the way to the floor, my chin should touch before my nose does.
As for the shoulder pain, that apparently has less to do with form than it has to do with repetitive movement. The range of motion (45 degrees, 90 degrees, or chest to floor) has to do with comfort & strength level. So my elbows are fine to extend beyond my back *technically*, but I'm probably not strong enough to sustain it, which might explain the pain.
To keep a consistent range of motion, I used a trick I saw in a few videos of others doing the push-up challenges. I placed a roll of toilet paper between the two dumbbells I use as grips (less wrist pain). That brings me at 90 degrees, which I feel is realistic.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Little Things

I referred to Sweetie as "my partner" during a conversation with a client the other day. It felt weird but easy all at once. They might not have understood the context but I didn't leave the conversation feeling like I'd crept into the closet again - which is what I usually do. When it comes to work, I'm just not sure how to navigate conversations that steer into my personal life. Something as simple as discussing a popular television  show can become a mental obstacle to overcome.

Client: "Did you watch Dancing With The Stars last night? I don't know who got voted off yet and it's bugging me."

Me: "I don't know because I don't watch it regularly, but my partner does, and she always votes for that geeky looking guy with blonde hair and glasses. I don't know his name but I hope he's not the one that got voted off because she seems to like him."

My normal reaction: "I don't know. I don't watch it really."

Which is more engaging?

Sometimes I'll just refer to her as "a friend" which is heart breaking and feels like a lie: "I don't watch it regularly but a friend of mine does (heart sinking), and she always votes for [...]".

It's not a lie, of course. She is a friend. She's my best friend. She's also much more than that and it feels wrong to imply otherwise.

I have referred to her as my fiancee before but that just muddies the waters further, because then they want to ask about all the details of the man in my life.

I think I've even referred to her as my girlfriend a few times - which seems silly after 11 years, LOL. 

Plenty of people have suggested I just call her my wife even though we aren't married. Those same people tell us that we're "basically already like a married couple" even if it didn't happen through a ceremony - legal or not. Call me a stickler for details, but we aren't married. I'm not calling her my wife until we are. In my perspective, it's like addressing someone with the title Doctor just because they've been going to med school for four years. We haven't taken the oath yet. There is no legal binding, there is no financial binding, there is no religious binding. We will eventually take those vows and, ideally, they will be taken in the state we live in AND be honored by the law of our state and nation.

I've never, until this recent conversation, referred to her as my partner. We don't like the term. It sounds like a business deal or a sporting duo. However, it seems as though that's the only term that really works for now.

So often, I find myself clamming up on conversations with clients when they turn outside of business matters because I'm not sure how to talk about my life without referring to Sweetie's involvement in it. Sometimes I manage to come up with responses, most times I refer to her as a friend, sometime I just use the "we" and "our" pronouns without explanation, and sometimes I just start talking about her by name without explaining her relationship to me - and no one ever asks. The other day I referred to her as my partner. I look forward with great anticipation for the day I can refer to her as my wife (in the sense of a federally honored and legal wife) and just be done with all of this label and pronoun nonsense.

Side Note:
I'm pretty sure my mom reads this blog. I feel a little contradictory admitting what I have in this post because within the last year or so, my mother and I had a heart-to-heart about how much it hurt my feelings when Sweetie was introduced at family functions as my friend or roommate. Here I am, struggling to do the same thing but in a job setting as opposed to a family setting. My mom has started introducing Sweetie at family functions as my partner. I know this is a huge thing for her and it never goes unnoticed by me, always makes my heart swell up to my eyeballs, even though I try to be cool and natural about it. My mother is pretty awesome, yeah?

Anyway, if she can do it - I can too. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

100 Push-Ups In 6 Weeks: Week 1, Day 3 - Failed

Monday was Week 1: Day 3 of the "100 Push-ups in 6 weeks" program (using the free Android App because I'm cheap and it was out there).

Week 1, Day 3 had the following - each with a 120-second rest in between:
8 push-ups
10 push-ups
7 push-ups
7 push-ups
10 push-ups (or more to max out - my max was 5)

I did the first 2 sets in the bedroom like I usually do. 120-second rests are long and boring, so after I'd picked up the bedroom from the first two sets, I decided to finish the remaining sets in the living room where Sweetie was watching television. Then I had the brilliant idea to have Sweetie watch a set to make sure my form looked okay. I was pretty sure it was good but figured an outside set of eyes might see something I couldn't feel.

Right at the start of my first push-up, Sweetie guffawed. My back was dipped, my arms were too far in front of my shoulders, and I wasn't going down to a 90-degree angle. Well shit. So I corrected and tried to finish the set. It was a struggle. I barely eked out the last push-up without dropping.

After another rest, I felt confident that I could push out another 7 with no problem. I got 2 done and then started struggling again. It took almost a minute to get the last 5 done and my form started to break on the last one.

I was doubting myself for the final set. The 120-second rest alarm sounded and I got into position. Right off the bat I was having trouble pushing back up. I managed to get 5 finished before I really could not do another push-up.

I was pretty down about this "failure". I set the program to repeat the day for the next workout.

On Wednesday, I attempted the sets in Week 1, Day 3 again. That time, I did the first set of 8 in front of a video camera and watched the playback during the 120-second rest. My back was dipped again but otherwise my form was good. I concentrated on keeping my back rigid (which felt high and humped but I knew it wasn't) and couldn't complete more than 5 in the second set. I decided I'd already "failed" the workout again so I thought about what to do about it.

I came to realize that my entire workout plan is based on the program's input that I could do 10 good form push-ups, but this was incorrect. Those weren't 10 good form push-ups. I tried a final set and found I can realistically do 5 good form push-ups. Granted, this was after 18 push-ups with rests but I still felt like 5 was my max number without stopping. So I reset the program and set the new Initial Test result as 5.

I will do Week 1, Day 1 (with the new baseline number) on Friday.

Monday, April 15, 2013

100 Push-Ups In 6 Weeks: Week 1, Day 2

Saturday was Week 1: Day 2 of the "100 Push-ups in 6 weeks" program (using the free Android App because I'm cheap and it was out there).

Week 1, Day 2 had the following - each with a 90-second rest in between:
6 push-ups
7 push-ups
6 push-ups
4 push-ups
7 push-ups (or more to max out - my max was 10)

My arms were noticeably sore on Sunday, which was a nice change.

I  noticed today that I was off on the Week/Day count. I counted the initial test as Week 1, Day 1 - but I'm seeing now that tonight's scheduled workout is labeled "Week 1, Day 3" which is what I thought I did on Saturday. However, the numbers are higher so it's definitely not what I did on Saturday. This bugs me to do a workout labeled "Day 3" on the first day of the week so I'm going to skip some rest days until I'm caught up. By Thursday I'll be back on track and I'll take my recommended rest days. Or maybe I won't. Heck, if I don't feel it causing any muscular issues, I might just stay on it as an every day program until it gets too difficult to do so and the rest days will be required instead of just recommended.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

100 Push-Ups In 6 Weeks: Week 1, Day 2

Wednesday was Week 1, Day 2 of the "100 Push-ups in 6 weeks" program (using the free Android App because I'm cheap and it was out there).

Day 2 had the following - each with a 60-second rest inbetween:
6 push-ups
7 push-ups
4 push-ups
4 push-ups
5 push-ups (or more to max out - but 5 was my max anyway)

So I finished the workout in 5 minutes. I did it just before changing for bed. This is so weird.

Today (Thursday), I found myself to the point of stress where my heart was pounding in my ears. I needed a release. I was at work, so I didn't want to break into jumping jacks or high knees or any other high intensity cardio (although that's what I Really wanted). It was drizzly and cold outside so I didn't want to walk around the building. Instead, I did squat holds and wall sits until I couldn't any longer. It was enough to elevate my heart rate and cool off my brain - even if just for a few minutes.

Push-ups and squat holds were my two weakest areas in the Insanity workouts so it makes sense to me that I work toward improvement in those areas. I think I'll continue the squat holds and wall sits on my off days from push-ups. Maybe by the end of this 6-weeks I'll see a drastic improvement in both areas!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

100 Push-Ups In 6 Weeks: Week 1, Day 1

Last night was Week 1, Day 1 of the "100 Push-ups in 6 weeks" program (I'm using the free Android App because I'm cheap and it was out there).

Day 1 was the "Introduction" and Initial Exhaustion Test which demonstrated the proper form and then asked me to input how many push-ups I could do right now until exhaustion. I assumed that meant without any rest breaks so I did push-ups until I couldn't push up another without breaking form. That number was 10. Felt kinda like a cop-out for a workout because that was literally all it had me do. I was done with my workout in about 2 minutes.

Nothing else scheduled until Wednesday (which I peeked ahead and has me doing multiple sets of push-ups with rests in between).

It's kind of nice not having to change into workout clothes and wear the heart rate monitor. It's also kind of weird not to spend an hour exercising and not being soaked in sweat when I'm done. I definitely miss the endorphin high that came with Insanity workouts, but I don't miss the time commitment!

I'm on the fence about whether this program alone will be enough to stave off my dark moods. I've been pretty down the last few days but until last night, I hadn't done any exercising for almost 2 weeks except a couple short walks with Max & Sweetie. Now that I'm on another regularly scheduled program, I'm hoping to see some improvement. This morning was already better than recent mornings. If my mood isn't consistently better within a week, I'll add a cardio or leg strength workout from the Workout Trainer App. Obviously, once the weather is cooperating, I'll be walking more often and this will all straighten out on its own!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Switching It Up

I am bored with Insanity. This has happened with every other workout that runs on a repeat schedule but I thought it would be different with Insanity because it was always difficult. There was always a new challenge to meet. Can I do more reps? Can I do this round without resting? Can I get through the entire workout without my heart rate exceeding 185? Can I finish the entire workout without extra resting? Can I do all of that with high intensity throughout?!

In the end, those challenges didn't matter after a too-long-break. I don't have the excitement to meet those goals anymore. I took a work trip and brought the DVDs with me but they wouldn't play on the laptop. I hadn't thought to test that out before leaving...oops. So, including the rest day, I had missed 5 days by the time I'd gotten back home. I did the Spartacus workout in the hotel's fitness room so I wasn't completely dormant but it was not an hour-long high-intensity Insanity workout. I mean, I sweat but I wasn't drenched. If you've done an Insanity workout, you feel kind of robbed when you don't emerge from a workout looking like you just jumped into the shower with your clothes on, LOL

On Friday, I kept putting off the workout until I ended up not having time to do it before going to work for the evening. When I skipped out on Saturday as well I decided it was time to admit that I'd moved on.

So (because I hate starting things in the middle of the week) I will begin the "100 push-ups in 6 weeks" program that I had slated to start a week after finishing this round of Insanity. It's also warming up so I'll be walking with Max & Sweetie again!

I've got the Spartacus workout slated for MWF after I finish the 100 Push-ups program and then I found an Insanity/HipHopAbs 30-day hybrid which I slated for October or November (whenever I can't walk the trail with Sweetie anymore due to daylight loss). I think by then I should be ready to jump back in with Insanity - and the hybrid will be a welcome switch-up.

I'll try to remember to keep updating on what I'm doing.